Located within Papago Park, the Desert Botanical Garden was founded in 1939 and currently maintains one of the largest and most unique collections of desert plant life in the world. Stretching over 140 acres (56.7 hectares), the garden is home to 169 rare and endangered plant species and its unique plant collection expands far beyond just the Sonoran Desert. Featuring five different thematic trails, the garden showcases desert life from around the world. The Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Trail, for example, features a beautiful display of exotic desert wildflowers.
In addition to conservation, one of the garden’s main goals is to educate the community about the natural wonders of the desert. Elevated walkways, hands-on demonstrations and interactive exhibits such as the Mariposa Monarcha Monarch Butterfly exhibit all help provide visitors with an educational and entertaining experience. They also host a variety of classes customized for both adults and kids. Learn about landscaping, wildlife photography, geology, or even desert cooking. One of the garden’s most popular trails, The Plants & People of the Sonoran Desert Trail, explores the unique nutritious value of desert plants. With classes and exhibits designed for every age and educational level, there’s something for everyone!
Although most of the garden’s permanent exhibits feature desert plant life, the garden does occasionally host exhibits that feature desert animal life. The Birds in the Garden exhibit, for example, allows visitors to join expert birders for a morning walk along the garden trails.
One of the garden’s more popular traveling exhibits, the Mariposa Monarca Monarch Butterfly Exhibit, allows visitors to walk amongst hundreds of Monarch butterflies, learning about their lifecycle, migration patterns, and conservation methods. Each season the garden showcases different exhibitions, both traveling and permanent. Therefore, it is always recommended that you check ahead of time for a list of activities so you do not miss out!